Vanity with Mirror
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The City and the Rise of the Modern Woman, 1900–1945
Aerodynamic streamlining is characteristic of much American industrial and domestic design of the late 1920s and 1930s. Undecorated, curved designs, as seen here, are well suited to machine production and expressive of speed and change. The vanity and stool are made of chromed metal tubing, an innovation in furniture construction pioneered in the early 1920s by Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus, the seminal German school for modern design. It was still a startling new material a decade later.
Although the vanity is gender-specific, this stark, modern interpretation has a limited palette and is made of new materials with hard surfaces. Updating an old form, Kem Weber transformed it for the modern woman.
Chrome-plated tubular steel, wood, glass
55 x 33 x 19 1/2 in. (139.7 x 83.8 x 49.5 cm) (show scale)
Modernism Benefit Fund
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Kem Weber (American, born Germany, 1889-1963). Vanity with Mirror, 1934. Chrome-plated tubular steel, wood, glass, 55 x 33 x 19 1/2 in. (139.7 x 83.8 x 49.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Modernism Benefit Fund, 87.123.1a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 87.123.1a-b_87.123.2_reference_SL1.jpg)
group, 87.123.1a-b_87.123.2_reference_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Vanity table (a) with attached mirror (b), en suite with stool (87.123.2). Vanity composed of tubular steel structure forming base, legs and braces that support black-painted wood tabletop with drawer. Rising from rear of wood top, asymmetrically supported by three flat, vertical, chrome-plated pieces and semi-circular tubular steel piece is a circular mirror.
CONDITION: Splits in veneer on tabletop.
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